DESPITE conceding two goals in the first eight minutes and having to survive the concession of a late penalty, Laois deservedly overcome Tyrone in this hugely entertaining game that needed extra-time to separate two talented sides.
Joe Higgins’ side were full value for their win and they showed great confidence and belief in each other to pullout the win after 80 thrilling minutes of end to end football.
Player of the match Grace Weston got the crucial goal midway through the second-half to get her side right back into the game and Laois could have won it in normal-time but for the concession of a late equalising point as the clock ticked down.
Laois showed greater pace, determination and fitness in the added periods and eventually edged in front. They were almost undone by the concession of a late penalty but fortunately for the girls in blue, Gemma Begley blasted the kick wide.
Laois were caught on the back-foot from the off when Sarah Donnelly broke from midfield to blast the ball to the back of the net. A point from Jolene Donnelly followed soon after and Laois were four points down after only three minutes.
They hit back well with points from Sinead Doogue, Martina Dunne and the first of eight from Mary Kirwan but Tyrone struck for a second goal when Joline Donnelly just beat Ciamh Dollard to a lose ball and fisted it to the back of the net.
Points from Cathy Donnelly and Neamh Woods followed and Tyrone were six points ahead after 11 minutes. With the break neck pace of the game showing no sign of dropping, Laois added the next two points from Grace Weston and Mary Kirwan but Tyrone responded with Joline Donnelly and Gemma Begley on target.
Laois came close to cutting their deficit in half when a great ball from Tracey Lawlor put Martha Kirwan through on goal but her well struck shot was brilliantly saved by Shannon Lynch.
Points from frees for Laois from Tracey Lawlor and Mary Kirwan were cancelled out by Caitriona McGahan and Cathy Donnelly but Laois had the final say of the half when Martina Dunne pointed to get her side back within five.
As has been the case on a number of other occasions with this side, they blasted out of the blocks in the second-half scoring three points in the first ten minutes of the half through Mary Kirwan, Tracey Lawlor and one from Jane Moore after a rampaging run.
Tyrone only managed on in reply from McGahan and the Ulster side were reduced to 14 players for ten minutes midway through the half when Eimear Teague was sin-binned for a cynical foul on Tracey Lawlor.
Laois took full advantage when the flying Grace Weston latched onto a precise through ball from Anna Moore before blasting to the back of the net. That score got Laois on level terms and they should have been three points ahead soon after but what looked like a perfectly good goal from Mary Kirwan was ruled out for a square ball.
Kirwan and Sinead Doogue did add points to put Laois ahead for the first time. Tyrone to their credit came back again and were within one with time running out thanks to a free from Gemma Begley.
Inside the last minute Laois had possession and could have run out the clock but they lost the ball and Tyrone took advantage scoring an equalising point with seven seconds to go.
That forced the game to extra-time and the sides were evenly matched in the first ten minutes adding two points apiece with the excellent Mary Kirwan adding both Laois’ scores.
Laois showed superior fitness in the second-half of extra-time with a point from Tracey Lawlor giving them the lead.
Against the run of play Tyrone were awarded a rather fortunate penalty but with Ciamh Dollard doing as much as she could to prove a distraction by moving around on her line, Gemma Begley blasted the penalty wide.
Laois went two clear when Mary Kirwan pointed a free and they were relatively untroubled for the rest of the game with captain Grainne Dunne marshalling the defence well in the closing stages.
SCORERS: Laois: Mary Kirwan 0-8 (0-5f), Grace Weston 1-1, Tracey Lawlor 0-3f, Martina Dunne 0-2, Sinead Doogue 0-2, Jane Moore 0-1. Tyrone: Joline Donnelly 1-2, Sarah Donnelly 1-0, Gemma Begley 0-3f, Cathy Donnelly, Caitriona McGahan 0-2, Neamh Woods 0-2, E Gormley 0-1.
YELLOW CARDS: Laois (None); Tyrone (1) Eimear Teague (44 mins)
LAOIS: Ciamh Dollard; Laura Hyland, Grainne Dunne, Ellen Healy; Alison Taylor, Jane Moore, Mags McEvoy; Angela Casey, Anna Moore; Mary Kirwan, Sinead Doogue, Martine Dunne; Martha Kirwan, Tracey Lawlor, Grace Weston. Subs: Trish Fogarty for Mags McEvoy (25mins), Olwyn Farrell for Martha Kirwan (50mins), Danni Callinan for Angela Casey (60 +7mins), Aisling Kehoe for Martina Dunne (69mins), Mags McEvoy for Anna Moore (79mins).
TYRONE: Sharon Lynch; Eimear Teague, Lynda Donnelly, Sinead McLaughlin; Marie Gallagher, Maura Kelly, Roisin Rafferty; Sarah Donnelly, Emma Conlon; Neamh Woods, Cathy Donnelly, Aisling O’Kane; Joline Donnelly, Gemma Begley, Caitriona McGahan. Subs: Sharon Quinn for Emma Conlon (38mins), Orla O’Neill for Aisling O’Kane (40mins), Emma Hegarty for Joline Donnelly (60 +3mins), Eilish Gormley for Sharon Quinn (60 +7mins), Joline Donnelly for Emma Hegarty (70mins), Emma Conlon for Sarah Donnelly (76), Sarah Connolly for Orla O’Neill (79).
Referee: Sean Joy (Kerry).